Texas Tech University

How “Daniel Tiger's Grr-ific Feelings” App Helps Kids Learn

Eric Rasmussen

July 20, 2018

PBS.org - As the years go by, the wisdom taught by Fred Rogers seems to grow ever truer. Nobody — including Fred Rogers — could have foreseen the digitized media environment in which we’d be raising our kids. Nonetheless, he provided some remarkable insight that has the power to transform the way we use media to teach our children.

Researchers at Texas Tech University (including myself), Vanderbilt University, and University of South Dakota recently published a study in which they sent home a tablet with preschool-aged children. Each weekday for two weeks, children were instructed to play with a preloaded app (either the "Daniel Tiger's Grr-ific Feelings" app or a "control" app) for at least 10 minutes and to watch an episode of either Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood or a "control" program. After the two-week study period, several learning outcomes were measured, including kids' emotion regulation (being able to control one's emotions) and emotion knowledge (being able to identify and recognize common emotions). 

As a researcher, I see the evidence. The legacy of Mister Rogers has again risen to the top with "Daniel Tiger's Grr-ific Feelings" app. And as a parent, it's comforting to know that I now have one more tool to help teach my kids.

Thank you, again, Mister Rogers.

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